Thinking about applying to UCL? Already applied and are aquatically inclined? Or maybe you’re starting this September and are keen to get involved? Whichever it is, welcome!
UCL Swimming Club has been established for a few years now and at the start of every academic year we have a new intake of over 100 members. This makes us quite a big society but we encourage everyone to get involved, whether you just want to paddle about for fitness or have made national finals – we cater for everyone.
Feel free to click around to learn more about the squads, training times and membership! For our top squad we offer around 9 hours training per week, while our fitness squad have around 6 hours. Importantly, we run whole club land training and regular socials allowing us to create a social atmosphere for all.
If you are a competitive swimmer and have gone to counties/regionals/nationals and are interested in joining the Competitive squad, please do get in touch before coming to UCL as we want to get training straight away and might even invite you to our pre-season mini training camp. For more information or just to say hi, Email one of this years captains, John (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Caterina (email@example.com).
What kind of standard is swimming at UCL?
We cater for a wide variety of swimming capabilities. On the fitness end, the minimum standard we ask for is ability to swim 100m freestyle and 100m backstroke, however with varying sets and lanes we cater for a wide range of abilities within the fitness squad. On the more competitive end, our BUCS team train a bit more often, and compete at national level.
How do I join?
Every year we have a stand at the Welcome Fair and try our best to make ourselves visible! We can also be reached on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you’re interested in joining, come say hi at the Welcome Fair and sign up to our mailing list. We then run two weeks of Give it a Go sessions at the start of the academic year. After this, you’ll be able to purchase membership through the UCL Student Union website. You can, of course, join at any stage through the year, just get in touch with the relevant captain or club president on Facebook or by email and we’ll try and squeeze you in to try before you buy!
How much is membership?
For this year (2020-2021) our fees are:
Swim School – £30 (one hour per week with teaching from one or two instructors)
Fitness – £65 (3 sessions a week during term time + 1 land session)
Competitive – £80 (4 sessions a week during term time with professional coaching + 1 land session)
We are a non profit club and are funded through the UCL Union and member subs, as well as our generous sponsor George Farha.
When and where do you train?
We train in a couple of different centres throughout the week throughout north London, all within 30 minutes of UCL main campus. The only exception is the competitive squad who have 2 weekly sessions at the London Aquatics Centre at the Olympic Park in Stratford. However, this only takes 45 minutes to get to and it’s worth travelling for. See our page on Training for more info.
How is the social life?
We aim to go out as a team every week, either to sports night or elsewhere, and we try and make our socials varied. This has included: curry, bowling, pub crawls, formal dinners, themed nights out, karaoke, laser tag, climbing, an easter egg hunt and more. We are a big team which means that the more you get involved the more you’ll get out of it. Don’t be worried if there seems like a lot of people at training and socials – we’re really friendly and inclusive so just say hi to a committee member and they’ll say “Nice to meet you, where you been? I can show you incredible things…” etc.
I’ve been to Nationals, the training schedule doesn’t look very much?
We understand that a few swimmers will be coming to UCL used to training more than double what we have available. We have historically tried to increase the amount of training and discussed this at length with our competitive squad and it was decided that unfortunately most undergraduates aren’t able to commit to more than 5 sessions a week. Running any more simply isn’t economically viable. However, recently we did put on an additional session for our BUCS swimmers taking their training to 6 sessions a week, and it may be the case that, as a team we opt to hold an additional session (perhaps at the start of the term to get people fit!). Ad hoc sessions also take place. Additionally, those elite athletes can apply to the centrally funded UCL Elite Athlete Programme which provides a number of benefits including free gym membership, strength and conditioning training and nutritional support.
It’s worth adding that despite our training schedule, most swimmers who come to UCL drop their PBs. In 2014-15, our male butterfly swimmer dropped from a 58.5 to a 55.4 on his 100m fly, our female freestyler went from a 63.2 to a 61.1 on her 100m free and male breaststroker went from 1.11.4 to a 1.08.0 on 100m breast. However, we also have several national- level swimmers who maintain/ decrease times swimming with us, so we are sure you will continue to do well here at UCL swimming.